Financial Samurai $1000 Giveaway & Your Chance To Make Millions Over Your Career!

I have some exciting news to share. We're hosting a $1000 giveaway to a lucky reader who is seeking an MBA. (note: this giveaway is now closed) “It's not whether you have your MBA, it's where it came from,” writes John Micklethwait, Editor-In-Chief of The Economist.

I'm sure on at least two levels, he's upsetting people. On one level, those without MBA's are going to find it presumptuous that getting an MBA is a foregone conclusion. On another level, there are thousands of MBA grads who didn't attend the top tier schools who will take offense as well.


John is smart to be so opinionated because after all, the people who will be buying his magazine are those who have always wondered whether getting an MBA is a good idea. 

He forces the assumption that if you picked up his magazine, you must get an MBA. And not just any MBA, but one of the top schools from his polls like Harvard.

I don't entirely agree with John, but let's face reality. Getting an MBA is gradually becoming the new standard for newcomers to the world of finance. Why? Because some go-getter decided it was the right thing to do and succeeded to get others to follow. 

The MBA is also too expensive to not try and go to the best school possible (although it's not the end of the world).  The inertia is too strong to reverse now!

Interesting MBA Statistics

Here are some of the takeaways from the magazine:

1) The average MBA graduate from all schools in the world earn about $90,000. European MBA graduates earn $107,000, compared to $70,000 in Asia.

2) The Top 10 US MBA schools have an average salary + bonus figure of $120,000 – $125,000 post graduation.

3) All six of the American schools in the top ten have average GMAT scores of over 710 (out of 800). In contrast, students at London average 693, at IESE 685 and at IMD just 675.

4) The rankings are based on what the students want: increased pay, to open new career opportunities, develop a larger network, and personal development.

5) “Cheap” programs regularly cost well over $100,000 after accounting for lost wages, tuition, books and living expenses. More emphasis should be put on part-time programs and their benefits given the costs.

Samurai $1000 Reader Giveaway


I think it's pretty clear by now there are enormous monetary benefits of getting your MBA from one of the top schools. 

We highlighted last week those with graduate degrees have net worth levels 160% higher than those with only bachelor degrees. If you want to make more money, know that an MBA helps your cause tremendously.

I'm proposing a $1000 giveaway of consulting advice to give you the highest chance of getting into your dream school! Getting into a top tier business school could mean the difference of making millions over your post grad career. 

Go to any MBA consulting service, and they often charge much more. In fact, I was surfing the web and found that a site called “Personal MBA” charges $1,500 to coach someone 2 hours a week for a month for someone to get a “Personal MBA!” That's not a real credential, but a great service and good idea!

What We (Editor and I) Are Going to Do For You:

Here's what's included in the $1000 giveaway

* We are going to be brutally honest and tell you whether your application has a chance or not.  Your parents and friends are nice, but can't be trusted to tell you the whole truth!

* Good or not, we will optimize your resume, essays, and overall application.  You need as many objective eyeballs reviewing your application as possible!

* We will conduct two mock interviews and provide communication tips you need to work on, because frankly, communication is one of the key deciding factors.

* We will will be as involved as you want us to be and are committed to spending up to 8 hours just on your application.

We Think We Are Qualified Because:

1) We both have MBA's from a couple of the top 10 school listed in The Economist's rankings above.  We've also been accepted to several other business schools and have a proven record for success.

2) We have interviewed over 150 MBA candidates in our careers post grad and more than 400 candidates if you include undergraduate candidates.  In fact, I (FS) was just at a Haas Berkeley recruiting fair last month for 3 hours.  We are the end game (a post MBA employer), and have a solid grasp of what an ideal candidate looks like.

3) We know how the admissions process works and what they look for.  How?  We have developed friendships with senior people in the admissions department.

We might be small fish in the personal finance blogosphere, but believe me when I tell you one of us, was a very senior executive at a major Fortune 500 firm, and I am no dog chow either.  We genuinely just want to help and are not driven by money as evidenced by the lack of ads on the site.

Maybe you're not interested in getting your MBA, but you have a friend who does. Please feel free to let them know.

To Participate Simply Do One or More of The Following:

* Provide a comment as to why exactly you want to get your MBA and why you disagree or agree with The Economist's ranking.

* Twitter this post and let me know you've done so.  Our address is @FinancialSamura

* Tell someone at a major media publication about our giveaway and let us know who.  Frankly, if this post gets picked up by The New York Times, you win!

* Invite friends to Financial Samurai by highlighting this post, or any post in our archives on your Facebook “What's On Your Mind?” box.  Have them comment “(Your name) sent me” and any other thoughts as evidence.

Winners Will Be Announced on Sun,  Nov 8!

There will be one main winner, and one minor winner based on who are the best publicists.  Maybe nobody will be interested, but maybe the internet will work its magic and find people who believe in the degree, and care about their careers, especially since round 1 applications are due in November.  It will truly be interesting to see how this promotion evolves or not, and will be the topic of a future post.

People are spending thousands of dollars on GMAT courses as well as personal consultants. High GMAT scores alone aren't good enough.  In fact, I've seen plenty of sub 600 GMAT scores and poor undergrad GPA candidates get into top schools. The difference is your overall application, communication skills, and whether you have a connection helping you succeed.  This is our attempt at evening the odds!

If you build a relationship with us, by the time you graduate, you'll have some of your biggest champions introducing you to various people in the private equity, investment banking, management consulting and start up arena.  How much is your future worth?

Related Posts:

“Get A 3.9 GPA and 1,300 On Your SAT's And You're Set For Life!” (a first chance at school)

“Go To Grad School, Get Rich Or Die Trying” (a second chance at school in case you messed up the first time)

“To MBA or Not To MBA” (what went through my head when I was deciding whether to go)

“The First $1,000 MBA Giveaway Winner Is…..”


Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money's Mysteries”

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18 thoughts on “Financial Samurai $1000 Giveaway & Your Chance To Make Millions Over Your Career!”

  1. The tech people don’t respect the MBA. The other managers do. But it is not necessary in the tech field to earn lots of money (you can just be pretty smart and be getting 6 figures in < 5 years easily with no MBA.

    My question is, for someone already earning around the "average" MBA pay, what is the benefit?

    1. Geek – It’s a good question, and it depends on how far you want to go. A lot of the managers actually don’t respect tech folks either. They just see the tech folks as drones to do the tech grunt work for them, largely b/c the managers themselves don’t know how to do it!

      In the Bay Area, there are a TON of tech/engineer types. They make a healthy $100-150,000/yr, but after that, they’re kind of stuck. That’s why 60% of Berkeley’s part-time MBA class, for example, are filled with engineers and tech types! They want to break that glass ceiling, and try and take a next step to the $300-500,000+ range. That’s where the MBA can help, b/c it gets you on that management path.

      It’s all what you want and are happy with. Like you said to me before, you love tech and are happy with it, so definitely no need for you! Best, FS

  2. FB @

    I want to note that in France, after secondary school, some head into what’s called “prep school” for 1 year or 2, to try and get into a business school.

    After going to business school, they get the MBA right away.

    It isn’t considered an undergrad degree, because the time and sheer amount of sweat and work spent studying in prep school, is considered to be equivalent to an undergrad (which, by the sounds of prep school students’ lives, I agree with)

    Other students after secondary school who don’t want to (or cannot) get into a business school, go to university/college and take a degree there. That, is considered an undergrad.

    I am still not sold on getting an MBA, especially since I am in a field that doesn’t respect it (Tech), but I do agree that going to the right school helps for 2 reasons:

    1) the connections you make with your peers, who will also have good jobs is invaluable. In other schools, you WILL find exceptional candidates, but there’s an undoubtedly higher percentage of those with more connection/pull are more likely to be in the big name schools

    2) you will get a privileged foot in the door for the interview over other candidates, but the rest is up to you to close the deal and get the job

    After that, it’s luck, humility, hard work and how the cookie crumbles. :)

    1. Hi FB – How come you know so much about the French system? Are you French by any chance? :) I vacationed there for 10 days several years ago and I absolutely LOVED it! The culture, the food, Roland Garros, and the friendly people!

      Thanks for highlighting a different perspective. It’s funny you say the tech field does’t respect the degree, yet 60%+ of my MBA class came from tech! Might be a double standard of thinking one way, and actually doing another. Might just be the product of my surroundings.

      So many of my engineering/tech classmates were “stuck” making $120-150,000 a year doing the same old things and no longer wanted to be one of the tech drones under some guy in management. Can’t blame them, b/c the tech guys are often the brains with the super hi GMAT’s and GPAs. The tech classmates all wanted to move into management, to strategize and tell the tech folks what to do. Besides, management pay was double+ theirs.

      Getting a chance, a foot in the door is half the battle. I believe many people can be successful if they only had a chance. Best, FS

  3. @Joshua Wong
    Josh, I think you’re right about the “X Factor” i.e charisma and having an edge. The edge is often times connections, b/c in a see of sameness, you need someone to pluck your resume out.

    Good luck in your summer associate position hunt for next year, and hope to see you around more often!


  4. @Eric
    Hey Eric, just got home from a long day. First of all, I really don’t think you should feel like any less of a person going to a public school like UCLA, rather than an Ivy League school. UCLA and Berkeley are world class universities. If it makes you feel any better, the major firms reject the majority of Ivy League students b/c there’s only so many spots. In fact, major firms try and hire from a diverse group of schools, b/c even at Harvard, there are some duds.

    It’s the bell curve like you say. At each level, you have to compete with brighter and more accomplished people. But, that’s just the way things are and you have to BELIEVE you can compete. You were a top student in HS, why can’t you be a top student your final year? Effort requires no skill.

    We’re in the worst hiring environment in our lifetimes probably. Don’t blame yourself for your lack of intern success. In fact, getting an internship is often HARDER than getting a full time position! Just keep hustling and start from the bottom of the bottom if you have to. It is actually quite easy to make a leap in your career if you get the proper mentor to sing your praises.

    If I had to go back to making $3.3/hr (well now it’s $8/hr) at McDonald’s to support myself, I would. There’s no shame in work, it’s just work. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail, and maybe we can talk more about it.

    Hang tough!


  5. Joshua Wong

    I’m currently doing my MBA at Rotman (University of Toronto), a top ranked B-school in Canada in my first year. At the recruiting events for top schools (US and Canada), they were congruent in their view of the “party” model of recruitment, with three main priorities: Can you handle the workload? Are you employable? Are you interesting?

    Having said that, a good GPA and/or a good GMAT answers the first. Good work experience and charisma answers the second. And for the third you are on your own.

    When evaluating schools, I think some of the most important aspects (especially for career switchers such as myself) are looking at alumni who are currently in the market, firms who recruits at the school and the diversity in your classroom (beyond the items listed in the Magazine).

    Now adays, an MBA is table-stakes. It’s necessary, but not sufficient to succeed in many competitive jobs (Associates for IB or Consulting) or top management positions. Especially in today’s markets, it’s always necessary to have an “edge” over your competition.

  6. Thanks for the words of encouragement FS. This is my first time browsing the site and I’m really enjoying what I’m reading. Thank you for sharing your advice.

    I think the fact that I did so well in high school makes it that much harder for me to accept that I’m struggling at the moment. I wouldn’t say that I was lazy in high school; I did my job and got a 3.9 unweighted GPA and 2100+ on the SAT (equivalent to 1400+ on the old standard). I got into UCLA and UC Berkeley along with NYU. I didn’t apply to any Ivys because I was afraid of the cost (mistake on my part). High school was tough but not overly challenging for me. Once I got to UCLA though, I didn’t feel so good anymore. My current GPA is barely above 3.0 and I’m currently failing some of my core econ courses. I feel like I’m on pins and needles trying to hang on long enough to graduate without failing.

    Even putting the thought of b-school aside, I’m incredibly worried about what I can do to get work experience. I think the bittersweet part of attending a good school like UCLA is that you are surrounded by such bright students who are all competing for those elusive internships with you. I have tried my luck applying to intern positions at Smith and Barney and Morgan Stanley but I get not so much as a reply. The sad part is that I don’t really blame them. I wouldn’t hire myself looking at my own resume–there’s just no work experience or extra curricular worth mentioning. That seems to be a catch-22 to me…you need work experience to gain work experience.

    So what would you recommend? Should I aim lower and apply for a campus position or small business instead? Am I looking in the wrong places or grossly miscalculating my actions to get work experience? At this point, I’m starting to feel the desperation as my peers all seem to be moving on to bigger and better things while I’m trudging in the back kicking myself on why I didn’t do better from the beginning. I am completely open to your words because spending this summer trying to fill up a one-page resume was like gouging my eyes out repeatedly.

  7. what a cool contest! this a great thing you’re offering. I think it’s great more people are looking to higher education. I don’t know anyone who went to grad school who regretted it. And I don’t think it matters how old you are when you decide to go back to school. It will be interesting to see what changes there are to online programs and degrees in the next 10-15 years too.

  8. I’m an undergraduate senior at UCLA right now, and I’m thinking seriously about pursuing an MBA degree. I realize however that MBA programs are looking for applicants with a few years of work experience rather than straight out of school. To be brutally honest my stats and resume are run-of-the-mill if not subpar when compared to the average applicant to a top 10 MBA program.

    That’s why I’m now looking at second tier programs but reading your post has made me doubtful about the usefulness of doing that. I feel like I’m at a crossroad and things don’t look too good at the moment. Tough decisions to make!

    1. Hi Eric – I think you’re selling yourself short! UCLA is one of the premier schools in America, and is a dream school for many! 3 out of 4 get rejected by UCLA, so be proud you got in.

      I would seriously recommend getting at least 2 years of work experience before going back to b-school. The stuff you learn in b-school will become that much more relevant and useful as a result.

      When you say 2nd tier program, which names are you talking about in particular? Grad school is a GREAT way to reset your credentials if you messed up during undergrad with a poor GPA or whatever. However, going from UCLA to a 2nd tier b-school doesn’t seem to make sense, unless the cost is minimal.

      Good to have you as a reader! Best, FS

  9. @Millionaire Acts Hi Tyrone, you’re at a pretty optimal period of your life where after working for several years, an MBA might just be the right thing for you in the States. The average age MBA student is around 28 years old, and therefore the avg. graduate is about 29-30.

    It’s up to you, what you want to do. If you want to join venture capital, private equity, investment banking, management consulting where they regularly pay graduates $100,000+ to start all in, getting an MBA from a top school is probably the easiest way to go. But, working for these firms is a lot of hard work, and people often make LESS / hr here than if they did something else. At least, in the beginning that is.

    Best, FS

  10. Gen Y Investor

    Nice promotion you have going on here! It’s very generous of you and some lucky student is going to be very happy!

  11. Millionaire Acts

    Nice move! I am also wondering if I should take my MBA now that I’m still young (26 years old).

  12. Wow, if only I was going for my masters anytime soon! I really hope people take you up on this offer and enter to win. This a very VERY generous prize you’re giving away, and I think it’s great you’re setting aside time to work with people on this :) I’m including this in my weekly roundup, and sending it around twitter in 5 seconds. Good luck!

  13. John DeFlumeri Jr

    Getting a job is not the same as keeping a job. What you know has to be combined with what you do.

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